Black. The truck. The glasses that hide his eyes, behind the tinted windows, as the tires spin in the dirt, pushing him further into the brush that had begun to grow around the path that led to our house from the bus stop. Closer to where we stand, rooted by the fear that someone is coming for us. Lost in the black.
Cacophony, the noise of chittering voices reverberating between the slick green benches, along the rubber runner that makes the aisle to the back of the school bus. The world dashes by the open window, a slight breeze filtering through. signifying school is done for the day. Little feet beat the backs of the seat in tune with the charge of anticipation at what the afternoon may hold.
Rumbling to a halt, the yellow monster swings one arm in front, another to the side bringing traffic to a halt, as we clamber down the steps, back packs bouncing against our backs. Looking both ways we dash across the asphalt into the cool shadows of the path, an old driveway to the land below our house.
Let's build a fort in the woods.
How about we play football.
The world is our playground on a sunny afternoon, as the six of us, brother, sister, cousins, tromp towards home to drop our burdens, until we hear the overpowering roar and rending of sticks giving chase to our steps. We turn to face the shadowy beast, the gleaming chrome grill smiling like bared teeth come to devour its prey.
Run, run, run...our hearts scream with each thud, breaking the trance, cajoling our feet to keep pace with its fear filled metronome. Breath returns with the solid thud of the kitchen door, a crisp snap of the lock, as we slide down the door becoming pools on the floor. Safe once more.
We never knew who the man in black was or what mal intent drove him to follow us from the bus stop. Hopefully neither you or your children ever face the prospect of being kidnapped. Unfortunately too many people face this every day...not from strangers, but from people they know.
Hearts are held ransom, by physical, emotional or sexual abuse, kidnapping lives. You begin to believe it is your fault, if only you were better, smarter, stronger, then you would not deserve it...trapped in your own dirty existence, no matter how many times we scrub your hands. Silence becomes safe, because who do you trust when those that should love you most become your tormentor? Who would even believe you? Would it be worse if you told?
Fear, humiliation, intimidation, guilt, coercion, manipulation...have nothing to do with love. Love is not a bargaining chip.
Its not your fault.
You don't deserve it.
You are special.
This should not happen.